Alumni, current students await final word about WGCC-FM
As a June 1 deadline approaches, students anxiously wait for word of a license renewal for WGCC-FM.
The renewal was filed amidst talk of ending the radio station that had circulated around the Genesee Community College campus, Student General Manager Cody Catlin said. Based in Batavia, the site has served up news and tunes since 1985.
“It was like a sigh of relief,” Catlin said to The Batavian Tuesday at the third-floor radio station.
The station’s license was to expire on Wednesday (June 1). The required paperwork was completed and submitted on March 31, however, officials had not received a decision by Friday (May 27), communications liaison Justin Johnston said. Submitting the renewal allows the radio station to continue operating, he said. As for whether the license will be renewed, he couldn’t say for sure.
According to the Federal Communications Commission website, WGCC-FM is in “pending” status for renewal of license, and neither General Manager Steve Petty or Johnston had any definite knowledge of its status as of Tuesday, they said.
In the face of an unknown status, a post was made Monday to the station’s Facebook site inviting alumni for one more visit.
“As we are gearing up for tomorrow’s (May 31) “Show Must Go On” Alumni takeover, we would like to share some news with you all regarding what will happen after tomorrow’s event,” the post stated. “In recent conversations with college administration, WGCC will continue to broadcast on 90.7fm after June 1! The timetable to see how long will be determined after college administration weighs all of their options and with some assistance from a consultant, the paperwork was filed with the FCC to renew the current broadcast license. If the frequency does get sold at a later time, that would mean that the frequency has a current broadcast license attached to it.”
Alumni Jason Reese came to participate for a few sessions during the day.
“I had fun. I’m enjoying myself," Reese said. "I hope other folks can enjoy themselves here.”
The alumni visit had a purpose beyond bringing together radio aficionados for old times’ sake. WGCC 90.7 FM has been in limbo the last several months, going from its license potentially being sold to the latest news of a license renewal being completed and submitted to the FCC.
Class of 2013 grad Stephen Trinder originally came to GCC for paralegal studies. He switched to communications after joining the radio team. When he heard the license may be sold, he was “kind of surprised.”
“This was a flagship crown jewel of the college,” he said. “It’s one of the most powerful radio stations owned by a college.”
Odessa Cramer, a 21-year-old radio club member, has been on the air a few times, but she mostly assists with other types of support, she said. A veterinarian technician major, her classroom is just down the hall from the station.
“This is a hidden treasure,” she said. “I didn’t know it existed.”
Reese has put his degree to good use by conducting his own social media show, he said. He credits at least some of that to his college education.
“Coming from a small town of Pavilion and going to Batavia, I’ve met a lot of people. I met Steve Petty here,” Reese said. “I’m glad I’m a communications and media arts major. I think WGCC was social media before that was even popular.”
He was “sort of shocked” to hear about the license possibly being sold, he said.
“It’s been on the air for 37 years, and was great for the community,” he said. “We had phone calls, fan mail, we got the message out to the public.”
Some of the types of events promoted by the radio station have included Law Day, Cougar Connections, pizza and music in the Student Union and providing audio and music during Business Creators Club.
The final decision to sell the station will be up to the college’s Board of Trustees.
Top photo: Members of the radio station talk business Tuesday, including Odessa Cramer, left, Cody Catlin, Jason Reese and Stephen Trinder, front. Jason Reese of Batavia takes a turn at the mic during an alumni event Tuesday at GCC's radio station; and General Manager Steve Petty and Student General Manager Cody Catlin show the station's emergency broadcast sytem. Photos by Joanne Beck